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Social justice and racial equity grant

When it comes to promoting equality, words are not enough.

Social justice and racial equity grant cycle; application open July 1 - Aug. 31

We are committed to addressing systemic racism in North Carolina.

Application period open July 1 – Aug. 31; grant decisions by Oct. 31

This grant program will award $25,000 grants for general operating funds to North Carolina nonprofits dedicated to the fight for social justice and racial equity. Grants will empower nonprofits that are led by, and provide services to, communities of color.

Strategic Principles

  • Nonprofits with a history of championing social justice and racial equity work on behalf of people of color, as represented in their mission statements and previous bodies of work, are the priority for this program.
  • Nonprofits led by people of color, a historically underfunded group across philanthropy, will be given additional consideration in the grant review process.
  • Preference will be given to nonprofits not already funded through the Duke Energy Foundation’s other competitive grant cycles.
  • Organizations awarded a Social Justice and Racial Equity grant in 2020 or 2021 are eligible to apply again in 2022.
  • The nonprofit applicant may be a governmental entity if the organization meets the strategic principles listed above.
  • All regions of North Carolina served by Duke Energy Progress or Duke Energy Carolinas are eligible.

Targeted Types of Grants

Grant applications should come from organizations with specific programming addressing social justice and racial equity – this should be the organization’s primary mission. Initiatives the organization is working on may include, but are not limited to:

  • Trainings and policy reform
  • Environmental justice*
  • Civic engagement for communities of color
  • Reducing disparate outcomes for people of color through education and workforce development
  • Legal assistance, including pathways to citizenship
  • Criminal justice reform, including community policing
*Learn more about environmental justice on the EPA’s website.

To qualify for grant funding consideration, your organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Have current tax-exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, be a governmental entity, including school systems. Governmental entities, including school systems will need to:
  1. Submit an IRS letter of determination. To request an IRS letter of determination, contact the IRS at 877.829.5500 or view this sample letter
  2. Supply a letter to the Duke Energy Foundation on their governmental / school system letterhead affirming they are a governmental entity and include their Federal EIN number.
  • Serve communities that are also served by Duke Energy.
  • Serve communities without discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, creed, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or national origin. 
  • Have a method by which to measure, track and report one or more program outcomes and specific results that demonstrate measurable community impact.


Foundation grant support is not available for

  • Churches or evangelical organizations
  • Organizations with a substantial purpose of influencing any political, legislative or regulatory cause
  • Fraternal, veteran or labor membership organizations serving only the members of that organization
  • Organizations offering or providing either Duke Energy Corp., the Duke Energy Foundation, or their respective officers or employees any benefit from the grant
  • Nonprofit organizations that are opposing or intervening parties (or that fund any such parties) in any proceeding in which Duke Energy is a party, or that fund or produce negative advertisements against Duke Energy.
The Foundation does not fund grants for programs and projects associated with, but not limited to, the following:
  • Individual K-12 schools or organizations that operate within an individual school. We will consider school grants at the district level
  • Sports teams or events, with the exception of Power for Students 
  • Religious programs, projects or activities
  • Direct cost reduction for electric or natural gas service provided by Duke Energy
  • External fundraising campaigns or events
  • Capital investments and improvements
  • Endowments or other foundations